GPS - good idea good value or good idea bad value?

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GPS - good idea good value or good idea bad value?

Postby geekcampgirl » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:28 am

Hi,

It's only a matter of weeks now before we head off into parts unknown and the planning is reaching fever pitch!! (joking)

I have been thinking about the value of a GPS unit. We have always been happy enough to follow our noses, with appropriate care and responsibility taken.

I am partial to the odd gadget as well. A GPS is one that I dont have - yet. I am not sure if it is a good idea for the sake of another gadget or a good idea because it may make the trip 'better'.

I have been doing a bit of reserach and am not even sure what sort of GPS I want except that I do not want one of those ones that talks to me!! I would want one that has a compass on it that is easily seen. (A friend has a hand held one that can map points etc on a walk, but he cannot see the compass while he is walking - not a good scenario when you are walking in hundreds of hectares of malleee on a cloudy day!) All the blurbs talk about how wonderful they are in getting you around the city. But I am looking at using it in remote places in outback Queensland, NSW and South Australia.

Does anyone have any feedback about the value they get out of their GPS, what they would look for if they bought a new one, and how effective the GPS, and the mapping software, is in remote areas?
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Postby slug » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:04 pm

Generally the only maps they will have are main roads as far as i know. Driving through state forests with a mate and only the main "arterial" track is on his, all the others although sign posted and on a map werent on his GPS. You can however plot them in so you know for next time!
You can buy a CD of maps, i think some of the HEMA desert maps, but i think these are just to run on a laptop with mapping software which you then link into your GPS. You can then watch your progress on the laptop screen!
I too would like one but i dont think without spending a bit of money that youll get one for real back country touring. A small handheld one can still be useful though and may satisfy your need for a gadget!!!
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GPS

Postby Activity_Dept » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:06 pm

I use one a lot in the car and find it excellent once you get use to it. I know they are getting better and cheaper so I would almost be tempted to say hold off till the next generation however I think it would be very handy for your trip. But I can't offer much practical advice unfortunatley , anyone else... I know there was some talk I think in the Gear Guide about them maybe have a look.
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Postby geekcampgirl » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:13 pm

Thanks Slug,

You have confirmed what I was thinking about the completeness of the mapping.

Its not that I need a gadget, but more along the lines of - if it will make the trip better, then I'll buy it.

A good sense of direction, of adventure and a sun to help me tell direction will probably be of more benefit, by the sounds of it.

Thanks for your replies
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Postby slug » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:25 pm

No worries, but i do beg to differ, EVERYONE NEEDS GADGETS!!
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Postby geekcampgirl » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:32 pm

EVERYONE NEEDS GADGETS


:shock: really!!??!!
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Postby Troyk » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:04 pm

I know I have come in a bit late, but..

GPS units are a bit of gadget, but come in handy if you exploring and you need to back track. They come with a function called tracking or breadcrumbing (as in hansel and gretel) marking the route you have taken. Or perhaps mark an important turn off etc

Alot of people of swap track data and waypoints on various forums, which is probalby better than forking out the maps which can be just as expensive as the units themselves.

I use it to mark our travels and store all the data in google Earth. One day I am going to have a map of Australia, with lines criss crossing the country where we have been. A bit corny perhaps.
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Postby Blue Bravo » Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:56 pm

Thanks for starting this thread. I'm in a similar position. Everyone talks about their GPS but i'm wondering if they are really useful or just a whiz bang look what I can do toy.
I've talked to people who have let them direct them and they been taken off the tar etc which is not how they wanted to travel.
I avoid cities if possible and find that you can usually get directions from a service station if looking for an address ( especially if they sell directories - just a quick peek :) ).
I suppose I am a bit of a troglodite when it comes to technology.
Can some one give me a solid reason to spend $500 odd bucks on one? :lol:
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Postby Derek Bullock » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:03 pm

Automatic transmission, leather seats, cruise control and a GPS.

Life was meant to be easy. :*** :*** :***
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Postby Troyk » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:18 pm

Derek,

You forgot the DVD player and the air conditioning.

and then there is the button that warms up the leather seats.
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Postby Derek Bullock » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:19 pm

Nah, the seat warmer was an option I didnt put in the Suzuki. :***
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Postby Komodo » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:07 pm

What do you want to use the GPS for?

There are data logging GPS, theres "sat nav" GPS and theres map based GPS.

For off road work & bush walking a lot of the guys use map based GPS units with the OziExplorer maps and data logging.
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Postby geekcampgirl » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:53 pm

Good questions, Komodo

I am glad that you asked the questions, because I didn't know that there were different kinds. Although, I must admit, I did think that the ones in cars that speak to you would be different from the one that my friend has with the non friendly compass.

I would want something that would be helpful when I am travelling outback and when I am walking. I imagine it to be a safety thing as well. If I am walking, I want to be able to easily get back to the car, and if I am driving I would want to find my way back to where I came from, or somewhere with directions.
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Postby Troyk » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:47 pm

geekcampgirl,

for information all I have is a Garmin GPS72 which cost me about $270 about 18 months. https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=214

It has the tracking (which can reverse to backtrack) etc. The unit has limited data storage, but it can be downloaded through a RS-232 port (if you computer has one, if not you can use). The screen will map your track and thats about it. Anyhow its done me well, and as I said before I have loaded all the data into Google Earth.

The problem with the compass is that it uses the angle of the last two location points to work out the compass bearing. So if you are standing still it don't work properly. All the calculations are simple trigonometry on the last two points it measures. Speed is determined on the time it takes to get across the distance between the two points.
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Postby Scolers » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:42 pm

Komodo wrote:What do you want to use the GPS for?

There are data logging GPS, theres "sat nav" GPS and theres map based GPS.

For off road work & bush walking a lot of the guys use map based GPS units with the OziExplorer maps and data logging.


I'm with Komodo on this one ... we have a sat nav ... it's not very good for driving around cities but brilliant when you go offraod or follow a track, turn around and are faced with a myriad of tracks to follow back. We have OziExplorer with 20gigs worth of maps. A word of warnning tho' ... make sure you canr ead a topo map ... :armsup

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